Friday, February 28, 2014

Unhindered Worship (Romans 15:5-7)

“Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.” (Romans 15:5–7, NASB95)

I know when I am struggling with someone it is difficult to be of one mind with them and united in worshipping God together. There is this thing burning in my heart and mind that I won’t shake and in closing myself off from them I also put up some walls with God. These walls don’t move God away from me, but they do affect my ability to have a worshipful relationship with Him.

This is true of church relations as it is also true in the home. This is especially true in the marriage relationship, but sets even in this a powerful example for our interactions with all other believers. In 1 Peter 3:7 “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7, NASB95)

We have just spent some time walking through a consideration of how we are to walk with believers who might have a conscience issue over which they might be struggling in relation to other believers who might not have that same concern. We read and considered that we are to look to them and their concerns in an understanding way. Similarly, as we look at this passage we find Peter referring to women and specifically wives as weaker vessels. There has been much discussion on the exact meaning of what it means to be a weaker vessel, but for sake of today’s consideration let’s look at it from the context of Romans 14 and 15 where things are viewed and approached differently.

In 1 Peter 3:7 we are told that husbands are to live with their wives in an understanding way, meaning taking the time to really know them, knowing that they don’t view everything the way men do and they don’t even approach many things in the same way. For example, a husband might compartmentalize things and focus narrowly on a problem and its solution(s), whereas the wife might view things more broadly and be strongly desirous of taking other factors into consideration. The husband might be about fixing things, and the wife might be about understanding and being understood and maybe not even setting them right. While these are generalizations, let’s for sake of argument acknowledge that men and women are different and they approach things differently.

In Romans 15 we are told to be of one mind, not because this is automatic, but because we are committed to the principles and practice of endurance when things are tough and encouragement when things get messy. We are to be of one mind, and that mind is to be the mind of Christ revealed to us in Scripture realizing that we have been united as one by God and as such we are to live that way. It is in this that the parallels of how husbands and wives relate to each other that we see a broader instruction to the entirety of the church. None of us are the same. Not all of us see these flexible things in the same way. And not all of us approach issues with the same approach. It is in these differences that we are to focus and rely on the example and instruction of our Lord and His Word, instructions like 1 Peter 3:8 and others.

And with this in mind, as the husband can come before God in intimate fellowship so can we in the body come before Him in unified worship and glorify Him for the proof of what He has done in those of us who apart from Him would be so far apart from one another. So, again we have the critical body command to “accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.”

“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” … “so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,” (Philippians 2:1-2, 10, NASB95) 

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